Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Fifteen writers gathered tonight at the Nokomis Fire House. That many writers in one room is bound to lead to an explosion of ideas and imagination. 
Broaching a subject, I’d been requested to bring before the group, led to an eruption of ideas, few of which found total agreement.
The first questions were simple: Do you use outlines? Are they good or bad? What other tools do you use?
After nearly thirty minutes of orderly and polite discussion the consensus of our group formed. Our non-fiction writers confess they use outlines and tend to adhere to them with firm tenacity. Our fiction writers seemed to find the use of outlines somewhat cumbersome. Although at least one did admit to using a modified form of outline. Employing a predetermined order in which he introduces his characters and their interaction throughout the book, he guides his stories to completion in an orderly fashion. All the writers agree outlines are useful in some cases but most of our fiction writers consider themselves “Pantser’s; they write by the seat of their pants.” It's agreed, characters drive the story and sometimes, even the author is surprised by the outcome.
When asked; “How long does it take to develop an idea and produce at least one page of manuscript,” eyes rolled and tension flooded the room. It was as if I could hear the group thinking, “Are you nuts?” However, as writers tend to do, our group rose to the challenge. Estimates ranged from years to minutes. When we narrowed it down to actual time producing the first page of manuscript after developing an idea, the range shrunk; it now was months to hours. While each of us would like to produce at least one page each day, we often struggle. But, sometimes during moments of enlightenment, when the Muse touches us, words spill onto the paper with a rush. The conclusion of the group; there is no time frame and, unless you’re on a deadline, it really doesn’t matter so long as what you produce is satisfying.
The final question addressed was as oblique as the previous ones: How long should your chapters be? We don’t make rules and even if there is a rule, it will probably be broken. In the case of fiction writers, long flowing chapters may describe pleasing experiences while action sequences might be better served using short, to the point, chapters promoting a sense of urgency and heightening tension. Breaks within a chapter often allow the writer to change point of view or give the reader a break from high tension situations. Our non-fiction writers professed the chapter length must fit the subject while sub-chapters and headings are often necessary to guide the reader. Notes and footnotes enter the equation especially when the text is designed to educate. However, not all non-fiction is geared toward education, some true stories are written to entertain and inform. In these cases, the writer may use a less stringent approach and emulate fiction writers in the presentation with the intention of preserving an air of mystery or excitement.
The discussion filled the first hour of the meeting and we spent the next ninety minutes listening to and discussing the merits of seven great pieces read by our authors. Even with only five minutes to read, our members give us great samples of their stories. We traced the path of a Dutch solider escaping the Nazi troops on his way to England where he can continue to fight. We entered the world of Black Pearls guided by the woman who became the Queen of Black Pearls. We heard a piece warning us not to be totally against things lest it force us into sacrificing that which we cherish. The transition to a story of a young man who inherited a brothel in early 20th century San Francisco drew speculation as to how the research for this piece was accomplished. Next, we met a man with two hearts, one to pump blood through his network of arteries and veins, the second, installed by a Witch Doctor in South Africa, allowed him love again. Finally, a story geared toward youthful readers introduced us to a young Jewish boy fleeing the Nazi’s in Eastern Europe. He is separated from his family and carries only sparse supplies and a violin his father made. Where will these stories go?
I encourage readers as well as writers to follow us. What do you like to read? It really doesn’t matter. Thanks for reading.

Here are a few links of interest;

A writer's conference, SLUETHFEST in Boca Raton
www.sluethfest.com

Here are two mind mapping apps. Doug Sahlin says he's used both and they're user friendly and intutive.

https://mindnode.com

http://www.simpleapps.eu/simplemind/desktop


See you soon;
Rod

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